January 31 will be a unusual Friday for the EU, marked with emotion and difficulty as the bloc readies to become a 27-member union, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen told staffers.
In an email addressed to Commission employees and seen by The Brussels Times, Von der Leyen referred to Friday as the start of “a new chapter” for the EU.
Calling it an “emotional” and “difficult” day, the Commission president’s email echoed an official statement in which, along with the presidents of the EU Parliament and EU Council on Friday morning, she described Friday as a day of “mixed emotions.”
Von der Leyen said that departing British employees would always be “at home” in the Commission, adding that the British people were in her thoughts after the UK’s 47-year run as a central member of the bloc.
In the official statement, the bloc’s three presidents thanked the UK for their help in “making the European Union what it is today.”
“As the sun rises tomorrow, a new chapter for our union of 27 will begin,” the commission president wrote, ending her email with a call for ambition, as the restructured union readies to lead the way in tackling global challenges like climate change or the digital transition.
Brexit will become official at the stroke of midnight on Friday (11:00 PM UK time), putting an end to nearly 50-years of UK membership to the EU and opening a new period of complex negotiations on the future relationship between both partners.